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ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: The business of landscaping

lawncare 600The beautiful May flowers nurtured by April showers are usually accompanied by overgrown grass and weeds. With very little upfront investment, a lucrative business can be created for landscaping residential and commercial properties.

Many men have flashbacks of their younger days when their parents demanded they mow the lawn. Equipped with little more than a push mower and a rake, the teens went to work on the lawn. The more industrious teens became entrepreneurs, mowing more than just their parent's home. They made contact with the neighbors and began their summer jobs tending to the lawns in the neighborhood.

With a standard of expertise above the norm, lawn care now is a thriving business. Whether the business is independently started as a sole proprietorship or a franchise is purchased, there is money to be made in the industry. The benefit of an independently started business is that the profits are not shared and the entrepreneur is free to make his or her own rules. The benefit of a franchised business is that most of the documents needed to begin the business have already been created by the franchisor. Depending on the geographic region, marketing may also be included in the monthly fees.

Industry categories

CarleeMcCullough-160Landscaping is the category that increases curb appeal. The landscaper may suggest to the property owner items that would better the appearance of the landscape. The suggestions may include shrubbery, mulch, flowers, plants and/or trees. Vision, creativity and some knowledge of plants are requirements.

Lawn care is the maintenance of the existing lawn and entails mowing, trimming, edging, mulching and leaf removal in the fall (which is typically an extra charge). Sod installation, hydro seeding, weeding, fertilizer and pest control application are additional services that can be offered for a premium.

Expertise

Quality service is a must if you want to charge a client for services and reap repeat business. So become skillful at mowing, pruning, edging and trimming. Self-performing entrepreneurs who do the work without a riding more should be physically fit and capable of pushing, bending, lifting and walking the lawns. As a sole proprietorship, the owner may also be responsible for advertising, contracting and billing. However, if help is available in and out of the field, the operation would run more smoothly.

Tools of the trade

When starting off small a push mower will do but be prepared for manual labor. If funds allow, a riding mower is always advantageous and worth the investment. An edger is needed for small spaces and to give a manicured look to the lawn. Safety goggles and ear plugs should be worn as protection. A leaf blower and rake are also key tools of the trade.

Funding

Since the cost of entry is relatively low, most entrepreneurs self-finance the business with savings, credit cards and/or a small loan from family and friends. After the initial investment for equipment, the ongoing cost is simply maintenance of the equipment. Any other expenses should be built into the estimate provided to the client and later billed.

Benefits

The owner of a landscaping business typically controls his/her own schedule. Revenue is dependent on the size and amount of homes or businesses serviced. If self-performing, the business owner will get plenty of exercise and fresh air.

Drawbacks

One of the major drawbacks to a lawn care business is that it is seasonal. In this region, from March to around October the business is booming. After October, business is slow but the leaf removal business should be in full action. So word to the wise is save money during peak season for the slow months.

Discipline is also required because the owner has total freedom and flexibility to work as much or as little as desired. The likelihood of a problem situation unfolds if the owner is easily distracted or not self-motivated.

Pricing

The easiest way to establish pricing in the community is to contact potential competitors and determine their price for a particular service. An alternative is to reach out to family and friends and inquire about what they currently pay or would be willing to pay for the service. While you have the family and friends on the phone, ask for their business.

Whether to establish pricing that is below, matching or at a premium when compared to competitors is one that the business owner will have to determine once the information has been obtained. Provide a quality, reliable service and pricing should not be an issue.

(Contact Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 5308 Cottonwood Road, Suite 1A, Memphis, TN 38118, or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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